Chicago Journal of International Law


The idea for Brussels I sprang from a concern by European justice ministers that e-commerce was lagging in Europe. The European Commission attributed the dearth of online purchases to consumer fear, an opinion about which they have been very forthright in press statements as well as at the debates over the law. Given that consumer groups in Europe have been pushing for the right to sue companies in the consumer's home country, the EU ministers hope that the elasticity of the new jurisdictional regulation will spur e-commerce by bolstering consumer confidence. Many business owners, however, see Brussels I as a direct attack on small- to medium-sized companies. Spokespeople for this business community argue that large corporations are already subject to suit in each of the fifteen countries that constitute the EU, because they maintain offices in each country. Therefore, those affected by the law will be fledgling startups and small stores that are trying to establish a presence throughout the EU or are simply trying to grow their businesses. These small companies may be driven offline by the possibility of the high insurance and litigation costs that Brussels I will produce. [CONT]

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